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10 STEPS TO SOLVE INVOICING YOUR CLIENTS

 

A pain-free guide to shopping for invoicing software.  And bonus, the first two options are free to join! Today I'll show you how to create an invoice for your customers using PayPal.

Three popular tools I'm seeing used today to create an invoice online are PayPal, Wave, and Xero.  

You’ll learn how to send an invoice to your customers via email even if you have no business experience.  Be professional from day 1 of your business, so you can better manage cash flow without messing around with cash and cheques.

We also touch on small business tips to streamline your cash flow. Your goal is to establish your first income stream without the headaches and without spending tons of money on printing letterheads.  No expensive color printers required.   Establish your business on the cloud today and give your customers easy payment options.

Let's look at the 10 steps

1. Open a business bank account

The one thing that seems to stop most people from following their dream is—wait for it—getting started. Goal: carve out 60 minutes this week to do what you’ve been wanting to do. Just that. Up it to 3 days a week. Then 7. Start that business, write that book, open your business bank account, hone that skill.

To simplify your client invoice system you need to open a separate business bank account in either your business name or your own name (if you don’t have a business name).  When starting a business it’s best to pay for advice so you can decide the best business structure to protect yourself.  Typically in Australia and New Zealand, small business owners will use a Sole Trader business structure when transitioning from a hobby business to a legit business. Various business structures have varying tax rates.  Sole traders are taxed at personal income tax rates whereas companies are taxed at the company tax rate. 

The tax office requires you to keep your business transactions separate from your personal transactions so this is the main reason for a new bank account.  Plus, if you have a tax audit you don't want auditors sifting through your personal bank accounts!  Separating your business and personal transactions this way makes your accounting fees lower too, as there is less work to do for your accountant.

2. Create a business email address

Am I the only one who finds the thought of setting up an email account super scary?! Thankfully we now have Gmail and support desks to do this for us.  Create an email address for your business using Gmail or buying a domain with Crazy Domains.  I'm not a hugely techy person so I just use the help desk at Crazy Domains to set up my email address for me. You might want to spend some time deciding on a business name before buying an email address.  Search for the availability of your business name on ABN Lookup or visit abr.business.gov.au/

3. Join PayPal, Wave or XERO

I got absolutely ZERO items on my to-do list done today. Not a one. But being able to help out at my children's sports carnival is way more important than tapping away on my laptop.  My clients' invoices run like clockwork every month thanks to my digital invoicing system, so my income keeps flowing no matter where I am. 

To send a digital invoice there are many options to choose from.  The most popular I'm seeing today are PayPal, Wave, and my personal fav XERO.

Today's demo will focus on PayPal.  Once you have outgrown PayPal we recommend moving to XERO cloud accounting software. Moving invoicing to XERO will streamline your accounting and make the end of the financial year less work, and money, for you and your accountant.

PayPal allows you to create and send professional invoices to your customers via email.  Your customers can view the digital invoice from the link you send them.  They can then choose a range of ways to pay you.  This enables you to accept credit card payments.  PayPal charges a transaction fee.  After your customer pays you into your PayPal account, you then make a transfer from your PayPal account to your business bank account whenever you need the cash. 

4. Create a logo for your business using Canva. 

I hands-down believe that every experience got me where I am. Even the jobs I hated. Even the times things looked dismal. For years, I was desperate for room in my week to do fun stuff—but the desert-days spent in that cubicle were the very ones that shaped this life I’m living now. You’re just where you need to be, friend. This I promise you. Take the next step and keep going.  Kick-off your brand with a logo using canva.com.  Watch the demo video above to walk you through the steps.  You can then download the PNG logo file and add it to your PayPal invoice.

5. Become aware of GST

Because “here goes nothin’” is often the start of everything. Starting a business changed EVERYTHING for me. I remember taking the leap with the first company I started in Sydney in 2003.  I'd been an employee for ages and had no idea about blogs, marketing, and managing my own workflow.  But I knew the numbers side of things and a few handy tax laws. GST is one of those things you MUST know about.

Know if you need to be registered for GST.  If you’re an Aussie or Kiwi small business owner be sure to check if you’re required to register your business for GST.  If your business income is more than $50,000 make an appointment to speak with a tax accountant so you can decide when you need to register for GST.  There are some industries required to register for GST from day one regardless of their turnover, such as taxi drivers.  If you forget to register for GST you still need to pay back any GST you should’ve paid so this is SUPER important.  Once you are registered for GST and you've registered for an ABN in Australia, you'll receive an ABN number to include on your tax invoice.

6. Collect your clients' contact details

Create a system for welcoming new clients and gathering all their details for inclusion on your tax invoice.  You'll need their name, address, phone number, and email.  Include their business name and business mailing address on the invoice, as well as their ABN. 

7. Decide your terms of payment. 

Will you have non-refundable deposits, cancellation fees, or no show fees.  When will you give refunds or discounts for early payment?  Consider your cash flow requirements before setting your payment terms.  Create payment terms of 0 – 14 days if your suppliers require payment in 30 days.  For positive cash flow, you'll need to collect your cash before you need to pay it out, otherwise, you’ll need your own savings or an overdraft bank loan to smooth the timing differences of your cash coming in and out of your business.

8. Set profitable pricing. 

For virtual assistants and consultants, I have a free mini- pricing 5-day challenge. 

Your prices are dependant on

  • the number of hours you're available to serve clients. 
  • whether you’re working one on one or one to many
  • if you have a team to serve your clients
  • your business expenses 
  • your annual profit target

9. Know the requirements for tax invoices for your country.

For Australian businesses, if you're registered for GST, your invoices should be called 'tax invoice'.  Be sure to add the words TAX INVOICE to your PayPal invoice if you have registered for GST.  (We recommend moving to Xero once you register for GST as there are more involved accounting aspects that need to be tracked.)

If you're not registered for GST, your invoices should not include the words 'tax invoice' – you must issue standard invoices.

Below is an example of a valid tax invoice for a GST registered business in Australia. Source ATO.gov.au

Tax invoices for taxable sales of less than $1,000 must include enough information to clearly determine the following seven details:

  1. that the document is intended to be a tax invoice
  2. the seller's identity
  3. the seller's Australian business number (ABN)
  4. the date the invoice was issued
  5. a brief description of the items sold, including the quantity (if applicable) and the price
  6. the GST amount (if any) payable – this can be shown separately or, if the GST amount is exactly one-eleventh of the total price, such as a statement which says 'Total price includes GST'
  7. the extent to which each sale on the invoice is a taxable sale (that is, the extent to which each sale includes GST).  

Tax invoices for sales of $1,000

Tax invoices for sales of $1,000 or more need to show the buyer's identity or ABN.

 Example1: Tax invoice for a sale under $1,000. This meets the requirement because it shows:  - Tax invoice (heading) - Windows to Fit Pty Ltd (seller's identity) - ABN 32 123 456 789 - Date: 1 August 2018 - Description of supply -  Window frames - The total price

 

 10.  Invoice early and often

Set aside one day a week or one day a month to invoice your clients so your cash flow remains constant.  Positive cash flow enables you to pay your team and suppliers on time.  After you've graduated from PayPal invoices and you're ready to register your business for GST we recommend moving your business finances over to XERO.  Xero helps calculate the GST you owe the government while at the same time collates your business data into financial statements ready for your tax accountant to review.  More importantly, though XERO enables you the business owner to know your business profit on the go throughout the year, not just at the end of the financial year.  

AHHH! We did it! You're on your way to invoicing your clients—and most importantly your clients can now pay YOU! Let’s pause for a dance party in celebration. As a business owner, I know your struggle, the time and money you invest to make these dreams happen so double high five to you.  Ready to learn more? Visit our resources page HERE.

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